We Made the Move!
Dawn Lincoln and daughters Jaclyn & Kelsey
Date of Move: April 2004
Reported by Tim Condon, FSP Participant Services Director
It's not easy being a single Mom, especially when you're responsible for
homeschooling two nearly-teenaged daughters. But Dawn Lincoln makes it look
easy. Dawn, together with her two daughters (Jaclyn, 12, and Kelsey, 10),
moved from Newington, Connecticut in April 2004, only six months after New
Hampshire was chosen as "the Free State" in the FSP vote of August and
September 2003. This dynamo Porcupine was one of the earlier members of the
Free State Project to move into the Free State, and made the move in spite of
homeschooling laws in New Hampshire that are more backward than many other
"I am currently homeschooling my daughters," explains Dawn. "The major
hesitation I had with moving to New Hampshire was the homeschool laws in NH. I
decided that I'd just have to deal with the over-regulation of homeschoolers,
and work to help make it better. Since then I've found that one of the least
invasive methods of complying with the homeschool RSA's ("Revised Statutes
Annotated," the NH term for statutes), is to use a private school as your
What about research? What kind of study did Dawn make of New Hampshire
before making the move? "Not too much!" she responds. "I knew I wanted to
follow the FSP and wanted to do it sooner rather than later. Being from
Connecticut, I wanted to find a spot in New Hampshire where I could be
relatively close to visit my family and friends in Connecticut, and have them
come visit us too. I needed an area with decently priced housing and access to
a gymnastics studio for my 12 year old, so I used the FSP web site to do some
research, and met with Jim Maynard and Shelly Otterson, both of whom live in
Keene in the southwest part of the state."
There were plenty of scouting trips to New Hampshire before the move,
though, Dawn recounts. "I made quite a few trips to come house hunting. It took
us about four months to find the right house in the right location for the
right price. After a few disappointments, we finally found the perfect house. I
focused on Cheshire County, wanting to be close to Keene but live in a little
more of a rural area than the city of Keene."
Now that she's "gone and done it," what are Dawn's impressions of the Free
State overall? "I love NH!" she responds immediately. "The people here have
been very friendly and helpful. The only person I've had a problem with is the
lady at the Department of Motor Vehicle, but that's pretty standard everywhere,
isn't it? This is a beautiful state with many people who really do believe in
Live Free or Die. In my area, I've found that a lot of people are from out of
state, especially Connecticut, so I'm not so much of an outsider as might be
true in other communities. The chair of our local board of selectmen is even
from Connecticut, and has only been in New Hampshire for about three years, so
'outsiders' are definitely able to become respected members of the community
rather quickly in this area.
Any fears about the weather? The weather is typical New England weather,"
explains Dawn. "Not much different from central Connecticut where we came from.
I know because I looked at houses in the middle of winter when it was snowy and
cold. Some areas get more snow than others, of course. My realtor told me
about a 'snow belt' - an area that gets more snow than most of the areas
surrounding it. We steered clear of there!
"There are lots of lakes and plenty of nice summer days to use them," Dawn
continued. "But I was glad we ended up with an air conditioner from our
involvement with Freecycle, when the temperatures were up around 90 in the
summer! Now we're looking forward to snowmobiling with friends this winter,
ice skating on the nearby lake, and snow skiing. We are fairly active - we like
to ski, bike ride, camp, hike, horseback ride, do gymnastics, swim, and boat.
As a result of moving, we'll most likely get into a few new things like
snowmobiling and/or four wheeling. It's really cool in the winter when you see
the snowmobiles riding along the trials near the roads!
"However, in the late spring/early summer, you do have to watch out for the
New Hampshire "official bird" - the black fly (deer fly, gnat, whatever you
want to call it!). They are annoying as can be and love to fly into your eyes
and bite too. I haven't tried this remedy, but someone told me that putting
ammonia on the bite will take the itch out
- I'll be trying it next spring!"
When exploring the Free State for a house to buy, Dawn recounts, she also
visited and met with other Porcupines, including Jim Maynard's girlfriend Pat,
Shelly Otterson, Justin Somma, and Calvin Pratt. She ultimately ended up
outside Keene in the small town of Winchester. Says Dawn, "I bought a house
right off the bat because I didn't want to have to move again. I have a 3
bedroom cape on an acre lot, just perfect for the three of us. My realtor was
awesome - Robin Smith at Masiello Group in Keene. Her work number is
603-352-5433 x 235. She worked very hard for me and helped us finally land in
the right spot. I highly recommend her."
What about new friends in the Free State? Has Dawn linked up with any?
"Yes! " she responds. "Luckily, there are many nice people involved with the
FSP who have been very welcoming and nice too! The 'Meet-and-Greets' have been
a great opportunity to meet people, as well as functions like the annual
Porcupine Festival, the Liberty Dinner, the Coalition for New Hampshire
Taxpayers picnic, the state LP convention, New Hampshire Liberty Alliance
meetings and more. I've met so many, it's hard to list them all! Kat Dillon and
her daughter Kira are two of my favorite FSP members. Kat is really sweet and
hardworking and funny too!
"I have also met a lot of people in town," Dawn continued. "My daughters
are volunteering at a nonprofit daycare center in town, and I volunteered to
help out on the Winchester Pickle Festival committee. It was a great way for me
to get to meet more people. Plus I know most of my neighbors too. For instance,
there's a farm right around the corner from us that has a sign up for eggs for
sale. So, our first day here we stopped in for some eggs. We are really lucky -
our neighbors at the farm have three kids and they homeschool and are
incredibly nice. So, the girls have been having lots of fun with their kids,
and helping with the animals."
What about the people in the Free State overall, I asked. How do they
strike her now that the move is complete? "Well, you have to go out and get
involved to meet people," Dawn responded. "But I'm very pleased with the
caliber of people that I've come across. They're nice, they're helpful and
friendly, and they seem to like their jobs too. The waitresses and cashiers are
even nice to you here!"
How did the move itself go, I wanted to know. Did anyone help Dawn and her
kids get you moved in when they got to the Free State? Says Dawn, "I had plenty
of offers but we moved in slow, one load at a time, so we were all set."
In the meantime, Dawn cautions, New Hampshire isn't perfect; there's plenty
of work for FSP members to do once they get here. "I was most surprised that
the Live Free or Die state is micromanaging their homeschoolers!" she said.
"And was even more surprised that many of the NH homeschoolers I've
corresponded by email with don't seem to think it's that bad!" Nevertheless,
she's glad, excited, and delighted to have "made the move" to the Free State:
"It's really cool to be part of such an awesome historical event like the Free
State Project. It's nice to feel like I'm really going to be able to make a
positive impact in New Hampshire, to help them retain and hopefully gain more
of the freedom they want and deserve. It's inspiring to see so many hard
working, intelligent, well-spoken individuals in this state, all working
together on various projects and within different organizations."
If you're wondering if making a move to the Free State might be right for
you too, and what it would be like, Dawn Lincoln has a few things to say for
you: "Come on up! Find a way to make it work and move as soon as you can! We
need more people here to make things happen. There are lots of hard working
people here already and lots of excellent organizations to get involved in. I
love New Hampshire! Personally, I keep the FSP stuff to myself until I really
know someone. Some people know about the FSP and think it's great, others have
heard about things like the Free Town Project and aren't so sure. But I don't
want to be prejudged by people so I just go about my business and volunteer for
things and get known that way, so I can be judged by who I am and what I do,
not for what groups I do or don't belong to."
"If anyone wants to contact me, please
Back to We Made the Move!
We Made the Move! Dave Mincin
Date of Move: February 2, 2004
Dave Mincin here! I made the move from Pittsburgh, PA.
I must admit I was a bit hesitant, so I decided to attend the Escape to New
Hampshire given last summer, before the FSP vote was taken. My intent was to
check out these folks, see how they were and what they were about. Well, it
didn't take long for those good folks to win me over, and I decided within an
hour or so that they were my kind of people! From that point I decided I would
do all I could to see that New Hampshire was chosen as the Free State! The rest
is history, and New Hampshire is now my home!
After the election and announcement of the chosen Free State on October 1,
2003, I sat down and thought "Now what?" My research had consisted of getting
to know some of the folks involved. I didn't really look at much of the data on
the website, but did work with and get to know many of the folks during the
Great Which State Debate. From my experiences then, there was no doubt in my
mind that these were good folks!
Hell, in my book a place to live is just that. What is most important is
the people that you choose to have as neighbors. I must admit that my decision
as to where to live in New Hampshire came down to a choice between the Seacoast
and the Keene area. But it was more about Jim and Pat in Keene, Michele and
Jim in the seacoast area, and others. I had already made a decision that I
would be in NH February 1, 2004. Yikes! The seacoast won, because I believe
the job opportunities for me were better, and, well, I've never lived close to
the ocean before.
Still, it was a big step, moving over to the Free State from Pittsburgh.
But I remembered a note I had gotten from Michele Dumas, "Don't worry Dave,
when you are ready to move we will help you!" "Hot damn," I thought, and went
that route. I sent Michele a note, and she sent me some addy's of places to
rent. I called the first one, then Michele and her daughter Nicole checked it
out for me, and the rest is history.
I ended up in Dover, and I'm just finishing up my classes to get my real
estate license. Hell, I didn't come here for a career change; fact is, I was
real comfortable in my old life. However, I came here to help create a free
state, and I figure the real estate business puts me in a position to make a
buck and also help the folks get here. (At least I'm hoping I can help the
folks get here!) Otherwise, I'm just living in a studio now, just playing it by
ear! I've come to believe that we are really just one big family, a "freedom
family," so I'm hoping my new way of making a living will be a win-win for all
of us. After all, I'm thinking we are all immigrants freedom immigrants
so, hey, we need to help each other! And as we know, "help" for us is
different than "give me."
I figure I've talked to most of the folks who have made the move. And we
all agree, "good move!" New Hampshire is the Free State, we are here, and every
time a new Porc shows up and moves in, we all get the warm and fuzzies.
Do I have new friends in the Free State? Have I met new people? Hey, all of
the above! Those of us who have made the move are all friends, and many of the
local Porcs and other folks we have met have become friends too. If you want
names, check out the Seacoast Porcupines. Most of those folks aren't on the FSP
forums---many are not even FSPer's---but we are developing friendships and
working to promote freedom.
We'll all have chances to tell our stories when we move to the Free State.
There's a gal coming tomorrow to our Seacoast meeting who is doing her college
graduate work on the FSP. I expect she's a liberal, but she's up for hearing
our story, and so we'll give it to her. The point is, the folks in NH are open
and receptive and if we really believe we have the answers, and freedom is the
way to go, the folks up here will listen. Nevertheless, I've come to believe it
is about action not talk! I've really come to believe the folks in NH are
receptive to freedom, we just have to understand that confrontation will get us
nothing, we need to just ask, in order to let us tell our story.
Resistance to moving? It's too hard? Too cold winters? "Freeze in the
dark"? Oh come on! The weather? You just dress for it. So you live were it is
hot? Go from hot to cool car to cool building, etc.? Hell, I've been down that
road, where it's so damn hot you can't breathe when you're outside. So it is a
bit different here you go from warm to cold, or cold to warm? Big deal, and the
fall is to die for! Those who say it's too cold are just using a cop-out
excuse! Do you really care about freedom? Do you really want to have the
opportunity to make a difference? Laying out the weather thing is just a
convenient cop-out! Oops! "It's too cold for me"??? Please, everyone should
know I've talked to most of the folks that have moved to New Hampshire. As I
said, the fact is that we all agree, "good move!" Get a grip folks. We have the
opportunity---just us common folks, regular folks--- to make a historic
difference! To bring freedom back!
Hell, it's everyone's individual call, but I do think we just might have a
chance to make a difference. Think about it: "Yikes!!! Hey, the common folks
brought freedom back!" I can't speak for you, but I want you to know that in my
book New Hampshire is the One-and-Only Free State. I'm here, and I know that
I'll do all I can to bring freedom back. Our numbers are small in New Hampshire
now, but we are definitely players in the political process. I'm quite sure
that as our numbers grow we will become a real force in New Hampshire politics.
The people in New Hampshire? Did I feel like a stranger moving here from
Pennsylvania? Not at all. Check out the folks in the Free State. They have not
in the least disappointed me. In fact, that's the best thing about New
Hampshire. I like the folks! I'm going over to Carl's place tomorrow to play a
little poker. And I like the super ladies we have involved in this project. The
truth is, most of them are married, but they are all so much an asset to what
we are doing. Hey, I try to get a hug from each of them as a reward for what I
am doing! Fact is, I don't think we give enough credit to the super gals we
have involved in the project.
Hobbies? Sports? Pastimes? Just an old hippy ... and I expect I'm going
to learn how to shoot a gun straight.
The bottom line is this: I think we have a chance to be a part of
something bigger than any of us individually. Think about it. You, just a
regular Joe, have the opportunity to save freedom! I just hope everyone
understands just how important our mission is. And hey, when you get to New
Hampshire I hope you'll look me up!
Back to We Made the Move!
We Made the Move! "Joel"
Date of move: March 2004
Are you scared of taking that leap into the unknown? Of moving and
living in freedom in the Free State? So are lots of others!
But you need not fear. A steady stream of Porcupines is making the
migration into New Hampshire right now. Here's the story of one of them (who
wishes to remain anonymous; let's call him "Joel" for the purpose of telling
his story). Tim Condon, FSP Participant Services Director
My name is Joel, and I made the move from Tallahassee, Florida last year,
arriving in the Free State of New Hampshire in March 2004.
Because I was convinced by the Free State Project plan, and committed to
moving to NH from the time it was chosen, the only real research I did on the
state beforehand was to look over a map to see where the big cities were. I
chose to live in Manchester, the largest city and close to Concord and Nashua.
I arrived on a Thursday morning, found a newspaper, and started looking for
a place to live. By that afternoon I'd found a room to rent. Nothing fancy, but
it was clean and convenient.
On Friday morning I went through the newspaper looking for work. I'm a
carpenter, and I was surprised to find that there were lots of opportunities.
The very first person I talked to set up an interview for me that afternoon,
and I was hired on the spot, for more money than I had been making in Florida!
So within approximately 36 hours of arriving in the Free State, I easily
found both a place to live and a good job.
Not long after I arrived in New Hampshire, I had an opportunity to meet
another FSP member named Patrick who was visiting from Nevada. He was doing his
own research, and wanted to meet and talk to people who had already moved here,
so we got together for dinner. I was a little nervous. Up to that time I'd
never actually met another FSP Porcupine. I knew I wasn't crazy to have moved
across the country in search of liberty...but I wondered if other people
contemplating such a move would be.
I needn't have worried. Patrick turned out to be a normal guy, and our
meeting was the beginning of a great friendship. Later that same week, I
attended a Free State Project "Meet and Greet" party where I had the
opportunity to meet all sorts of Porcupines, from FSP President Amanda Phillips
to Michael Badnarik, who later became the national Libertarian Party
presidential candidate. It was a great event, and by the time it ended I knew
I'd made the right decision in moving to New Hampshire "ahead of the rush."
I've been in the Free State almost a year now, and I'm amazed at the
frequency of new arrivals. Every week I hear of someone new moving here, and
all are ready to get involved as soon as they arrive. We're putting together a
great team here, consisting of both new movers and long-time Granite State
residents, and we're going to make a difference.
For anyone and everyone considering "making the move," I say "do it now."
You won't be sorry. The reward is Liberty in your own Lifetime!
Back to We Made the Move!
We Made the Move! Russell Kanning
Date of move: March 2004
Reported by Tim Condon, FSP Participant Services
For the early-mover members of the Free State Project, it's usually pretty
clear why they "make the move" to New Hampshire. But some make the move for
reasons other than the chance to live in liberty among other freedom-lovers.
Russell Kanning is one of those: He moved for love! Call it "Porcupine
love" (if the whole notion isn't sharply self-contradictory). Upon moving to
the Free State from Wyoming in November 2004, he married FSP leader and
super-activist Kat Dillon (who herself had moved to New Hampshire from Texas
less than a year before). They now make up a Porcupine family of three with
Kat's daughter Kira.
Russell was living in Victorville, California sometime 2003 when he first
read about the Free State Project. "I signed up within days of reading about
the FSP for the first time," he recounts. Then he moved to Wyoming later that
year with his family, hoping that that state would be the state chosen.
Unfortunately or perhaps fortunately Russell had one more move to make before
he could live among other liberty-lovers after New Hampshire was chosen in late
2003 by the FSP membership vote.
It was unnecessary for Russell to do any advance scouting in the Free
State. He and Kat had already struck up an online friendship as a result of
both being activist FSP members. "I knew I would like any part of NH," he says,
"so I had not made any exploratory visits. But I did ask plenty of questions.
And I married Kat as soon as I moved into the state, to Keene."
About his first impressions, Kanning says "I like New Hampshire even more
than I thought. It's not quite as cold in the winter as I expected, and it's a
little warmer than Wyoming. Also, the people are very friendly in New Hampshire
and seem to have positive impressions of the FSP on the whole."
Russell recounts the same story about both anticipation and trepidation
upon coming to the Free State and meeting other Porcupines. "One of the things
I was looking forward to in NH was meeting my fellow Porcupines," he remembers.
"I have not been disappointed. I've met so many Porcs in the past few months
that I can't name them all. In fact, many of them I met in just the first few
weeks after arriving."
Any fears about the cold winters that some people use as an excuse not to
make the move to the Free State? "I wasn't concerned about the weather,"
Russell says. "I knew I would like New Hampshire no matter where I ended up. I
had been living in southern California for about 16 years, but I grew up in
Montana and Utah, so I was used to cold and snow." But even so, New Hampshire
turned out to be a shock for Kanning: "I've never lived in a place with this
much rain and all the beautiful trees," he marvels.
One thing that did concern him, he says, was the welcome or lack thereof
that he and other Porcupines would receive upon moving to New Hampshire. "I was
curious to find out how 'flinty' the locals would be," he says. "As it turns
out, they're friendly and don't seem to mind outsiders coming from as far away
He was also surprised by the condition of the roads in the Free State.
"Since we have so many hills in New Hampshire, and winding roads, I'm surprised
at how nice the roads are, and how well you can get around the state. It's also
pretty obvious that the road conditions worsen as soon as you cross the border
into the Peoples Republic of Massachusetts," Russell says with a grin.
What about the job situation? Was he worried about his ability to find a
job? Not at all: "New Hampshire is a very busy place, and it wasn't hard at
all for me to find the kind of accounting work that I do," he recounts.
Kanning is also looking forward to doing wintery sport things with his new
family in Keene. "My new wife and daughter went sledding for the first time in
their lives yesterday," he said. "We'll also be doing some outdoor skating,
which will be new for all of us. I'm an avid sports fan and like to play
basketball too, so I'll continue doing that here in New Hampshire. I'm also
making the big switch to New England teams from the Utah Jazz, Denver Broncos,
and LA Dodgers, since New Hampshire is now my home and will be my home from now
Any words of advice to others who may be contemplating the possibility of
moving to the Free State as part of the FSP migration? Russell is very explicit
about that: "You will not regret moving to New Hampshire early," he says.
"Everyone I meet is glad they moved, and I'm surprised at how much we can
accomplish already in the state, and how much the good people of New Hampshire
are welcoming us here. Each of you should move as soon as you can. You'll love
every minute in your new home in the Free State!"
Back to We Made the Move!
We Made the Move! Denise
Greetings and salutations! :-) (anyone who knows me knows I'm not really
that formal in person!)
I was a *really* early mover. (I have been in NH for just over a year now).
I had signed a lease to move to NH from MA in August 2003, mailed my ballot in,
and moved into my new apartment. I had been considering moving North for some
time, and with starting graduate school last year, I needed to not be paying
$1300/mo + utilities anymore. Besides I like the liberty minded independent
streak in the whole state. (Just look at how many vanity plates are out there
on NH roads. Freedom of expression is certainly alive in that way up here!)
I am currently working in MA, and living in Southern NH. I expect to change
jobs within the next year, but right now I am biding my time while pulling
together funding to purchase a small camp. I will eventually rebuild it, in
order to make it affordable for me to own my own home.
Some people complain about the high property tax rates up here. But
considering the average cost of the homes themselves here, compared with living
in a major metro area such as Boston/NYC/DC as I was, the amount spent in taxes
is much lower, as the housing prices are lower for much nicer homes. As a
comparison, my parents live in northern NJ. When I told them what the annual
taxes were on a home of the same selling price as their home might go for, they
were amazed how much less per year they might pay in NH, for a home of similar
size but including a nice amount of acreage near Concord, and are seriously
considering moving up to retire. And as more freestaters move up here, we
should all join the NH taxpayer association (as all local New Hampshire-ites
should!) in order to work on reducing the rates even more, allowing us to
influence how our money will be spent in our communities, and attempt to move
more toward a smaller government.
In any case, if a single woman can make it work to move up here, and be
considering purchasing a home, I think most anyone can.
I hope my little note is useful to some, and I am on the local porcupine
list (ladypantherrr) if anyone would like to ask me more.
- Denise, Nashua area
Back to We Made the Move!
We Made the Move! Kat Dillon
Date of move: June 20, 2004
When I first heard about the Free State Project, I was actively looking for
a good place to resettle. I had landed in the tiny town of Frost, Texas with my
daughter in 2002, but never planned to stay. The Free State Project struck us
like a lightning bolt: An opportunity to move to a beautiful part of the
country, and to be a part of an important movement for liberty in our
lifetimes. My home-schooled daughter, Kira (now age 13), and I were hooked!
Once the decision was made to be a part of the Free State Project
migration, I had to get ready to be able to make the move. First, I spent many
months living frugally so we could get out of debt. Then I had to start saving
for the move; that took many more months. Right at the end of 2003, I
took an exploratory trip to New Hampshire to check out the lay of the land. I
had never been to the state before.
What an eye-opener! After a year in Texas, landing in New Hampshire and
seeing all the trees, hills, and beautiful old houses brought tears to my eyes.
Even in the midst of winter in December, New Hampshire is gorgeous! Having
grown up on the west coast, I was stunned by all the old buildings, many dating
from the 1700's. And the small towns! Many of them looked to me like something
out of a picture book or a Norman Rockwell painting. It's just a wonderfully
It didn't take any time at all for me to conclude that Kira and I would be
happy living in just about any part of New Hampshire (other than the larger
cities like Manchester or Nashua). My preference was to be out in the country,
but I had promised Kira that we'd move to a neighborhood with kids, so she'd
have the chance to make some friends (in Texas we had lived way out in the
boonies; Frost had a population of about 300...and we lived outside Frost).
The final decision on where to live was based on several important factors:
(1) It had to be a place where I could afford to buy a place; (2) we wanted to
be as far south as possible, to minimize winter and be closer to the large
population centers where liberty oriented activities would be most pervasive;
and (3) we had to find a place in a good neighborhood for Kira.
We started our search for a place to live in the Free State on the
Internet, looking mainly for mobile homes so I could buy without incurring a
load of debt (the website at http://nneren.com was useful in locating possible
places to buy). As I looked, I made a list of possibilities, then went over
them with Kira. We narrowed the possibilities down to ones we both liked that
were in reasonably nice areas. There were a couple of realtors who were
especially helpful to us, Dave Walthour of 21st Century Energy Shield, and
Matthew Clark of Maisello Group. I then scheduled a week-long "buying trip" to
New Hampshire, and set appointments to see the places Kira and I had agreed on.
During that trip I met a bunch of wonderful Porcupines, including Calvin
and Karen Pratt, who set up a "meet and greet" for me. Besides Cal and Karen, I
got to meet Karl Beisel, Sam Cohen, Dave Mincin, and many others.
As for the properties I was looking at, when I arrived in New Hampshire I
found the better places disappearing off the market very quickly. But I was
lucky: I found the perfect place for me and Kira in Keene, which had been on
the market for only a few days, and even then I found myself bidding against
someone else for it. Luckily, I was bidding with cash, and the owners wound up
accepting my offer only because I wouldn't be financing the purchase. Kira and
I agreed that Keene, in the southwest part of the state, was small enough to
please me, big enough to please her, pretty enough to please us both, and cheap
enough to be practical. We like living here! My only complaint is it would be
more practical to live closer to the "action" going on in state...nearer
Concord or Manchester.
The closing on the property, however, could have become a problem. It was
scheduled for just after the First Annual Porcupine Festival during the last
week of June 2004. Kira and I didn't want to miss the historic "First Annual
Porc Fest," so we took a leap of faith and actually moved to New Hampshire
before we closed on our new home...which meant we weren't absolutely certain we
really had a place to live. (Yikes!)
Readying for the move, I arranged for a storage unit for our possessions in
Keene, and resolved to drive a moving truck across the country, with only Kira
to keep me company. The best price for the moving truck rental turned out to be
from Penske, a 20-foot truck with a towing dolly for my car.
And I had never driven a truck like that before in my life.
Fortunately, there were a bunch of wonderful guys from the Dallas/Fort
Worth FSP group who helped me. They even tried to arrange some publicity for
the move: "First Free Stater Moves to New Hampshire from the Dallas Area!"
Unfortunately, we got no takers on the story. Nevertheless, those local group
members were a wonderful help when it came time to load the moving truck.
(Thanks so much, guys!)
Then, a stroke of luck. I found out that one of the Dallas/Ft. Worth local
group members, Mark Coleman, was driving across the country to attend the Porc
Fest. So we decided to caravan to New Hampshire together, which was a huge
relief because I was majorly stressed out about driving that huge truck across
the country by myself. It was good to know that someone would be able to help
if the truck broke down or some such thing. (Thanks so much, Mark!)
As it turned out, the trip to the Free State took three days, and went
without any problems at all. In fact, driving that big truck was major fun! (I
want to be a truck driver when I grow up!) ;-)
At the end of the three days, when we arrived in Keene, both Mark Coleman
and LPNH chairman John Babiarz helped us unload. (Thanks guys!) And then the
adventure continued as we immediately headed up to the Porc Fest in Lancaster
in northern New Hampshire. Although we got there in the rain, our tent site was
under the trees (like most things in NH), so we were able to get the tent set
up in relative dryness.
The First Annual Porcupine Freedom Fest and Night on the Barricades. What
can I say. It's really hard to describe that week. Kira and I never met so many
good, kind, nice, funny, freedom-oriented people in our lives. We had a blast!
The people were just exceptional. I've rarely met a group of people who I
"clicked" with so easily. (Tim Condon kept asking me, "When are you moving up
to New Hampshire?" And I kept answering, "I just did! I'm not going back!" LOL.
He couldn't believe what he was hearing.)
After the Porc Fest, Kira and I returned to Keene, and the imminent closing
on our new house. With my heart pounding in my chest, it went off without a
hitch. We had our new home! In the Free State! We spent a week cleaning and
painting our new digs, and then faced the chore of moving all our stuff from
the storage center into the house. But once again, an FSP Porcupine came to the
rescue for us: George Reich came over from Dover and helped us move in. (Thanks
What is it like to have moved to our new home, the Free State of New Hampshire?
Well, living here I've noticed several novelties: Motorcyclists without
helmets, people with
guns, land without
fire ants, and grocery
beer and wine (in Texas we lived in a dry county). And the
trees! They're everywhere! And they're wonderful! And the old buildings too!
Plus, when we got to New Hampshire, it seemed that everyone I talked to was
friendly and nice...just be prepared for the inevitable question, "Why did you
move to NH?"
And everyone else wants to know "What about the weather?" It's no big thing
for us. We're preparing for the winter now, and our place has a fireplace to
keep us warm this first winter. I was real happy to get away from the Texas
weather. I hate the heat!
Finding a job wasn't a problem either. I'm a computer programmer, and can
work from home from anywhere, so I "brought my job with me."
Kira and I are finding out that we're discovering new and fun things in our
new home state too. For one thing, we've rediscovered contra dancing! I had
done it once when I lived in California. It's so much fun, and Kira likes it
too. The place we go each week in the town of Nelson has been having contra
dances for the last 200 years (!). In many ways, it's like taking a step back
in time, and the people are incredibly friendly and helpful.
Bottom line? We've never been so happy that we made a move. Come on up! To
the Free State!
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Gerry & Kim LaVallee 5/31/04
May 29th & 30th, 2004 our first "scouting trip" to New Hampshire.
Strictly to form first impressions.
We arrived in Clairmont around 8:00. First impression was fairly clean
small town, loved all the motorcyclist with no helmets. We stopped at a diner
called "Daddy Pop's Tumble In". Your basic ex-diner car type place with a lot
of folks there, food was okay-not great, service was very slooow as it was
every where that we ate the two days that wew were in-state. Looked around
downtown area a little while and was impressed with the fact that there was
very few empty storefronts.
Perhaps this is a good time to give some of our background to explain any
coloring of our perspective. We live in a small upstate NY town that is
surrounded by farmland, inexpensive real-estate, property taxes are not too
bad. Some businesses are doing great while others are dying (textile &
leather). Ours is one of the few conservative areas of NY, conservatives
outnumber liberals about 5-3 which is not the norm especially downstate. Lots
of rolling foothills to the Adirondack mountains, lots of lakes & ponds.
Also, lots of empty storefronts and empty factories, declining real estate
values. And of course, state taxes just plain suck the life out of a person.
Back to our trip. We noticed that the towns were a lot cleaner than at
home. Generally they seemed like the stereotype "quaint New England town". But,
being in the building trade, I noticed not very much new construction, mostly
maintenance and remodeling going on.
Next town was Newport, great little downtown area. We bought a newspaper
and realized that there is no local paper, only a state wide and one for the
upper valley. Culture shock number one, there will be others-stay tuned. Then
we stopped at my name-sake, LaValley Building Supply, this is a pretty good
sized yard for a small town and found out that a good size chunk of New
Hampshire is serviced by them, good job opportunity for me. Still haven't seen
a lot for my wife (she's currently a computer systems administrator for a
Culture shock #2, real estate prices? .wow. There are no cheap seats, even
building lots/land is higher than we expected. The lesson here is, leave any
preconceived notions at home. We had to remind ourselves that this is a
by-product of a growing state. Then we drove around more rural settings and
realized that another of our preconceived notions was wrong, that the geography
would be the same. While similar in respect to lots of trees and mountains,
there were hardly any rolling fields, like we are used to. The mountains seemed
more "abrupt". Maybe they are younger here? We loved all the covered bridges,
by the way.
Culture shock number 3 was when we wanted some lunch, we were near Lebanon
by this time and all we could find was national chain type of places, maybe we
were just unlucky? Also, Lebanon has one heck of a lot of John Kerry
supporters-signs everywhere. We ended up Saturday at our hotel, a little
disappointed- watch out for those pre-conceived notions. Then decided that
Sunday to include Grafton into our tour. Grafton was a very quiet little place,
lots of dirt roads. We have them around home, but they are seasonal only, for
farm access, hunting, etc. Here they are a year round access to homes, not a
big deal, just an observation. The lack of nearby medical access, bothered my
wife. Again this was a first impression trip, nothing in depth-anywhere.
By this time, we were getting a little tired and decided on a more southerly
sweep and head back towards home. Keene was the next stop and a surprise.
Another great downtown area, very artsy and reminded us of Saratoga's downtown.
Lots of traffic. Lots of motorcycles, gotta love the no-helmet law thing. There
were quite a few places to eat here, and also great architecture as in most of
the places we went through. Got the impression that this would also be a very
liberal area though.
We are definitely looking forward to the Porcupine Festival to talk with
other folks to confirm or correct our first impressions of these areas. Our
next scouting trip is tentatively the Concord area.
Gerry & Kim LaVallee
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Stan Rozenfeld's Vist to NH
Regarding Free State Project: The people I met at your party
[Meet & Greet at Cal Pratt's in Goffstown, NH] are unique to
libertarianism. Instead of sitting back, talking theory and resigning
themselves to a generations long battle to change society, your group is
committed to living in liberty now! I've found the people I met to be highly
social, friendly, very PR oriented, and VERY action-oriented. Other
libertarian organizations have a lot to learn!
Regarding New Hampshire: Although the state lacks the polish, the
scope and is not as developed as the New Jersey suburbs where I now live, it
more than makes up for it by great naturally beauty, a sense of history, the
friendliness of its people. There is a sense that everything is down to a
normal human scale. I don't feel part of a vast machine there, but as an
Breathing New Hampshire air really does make one more free!
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Our visit to the Shire
by Christine Lopez and Seth Cohn 6/16/04
I guess we were both very excited & we woke up at 3 a.m. in January of
2004. We left Yonkers NY by 5 & were in Keene NH by 9 a.m. Being as it was
Sunday morning, the streets were all but empty. Keene has a very small but
quaint downtown square & we enjoyed walking around & then stopping into
a cafe for coffee & a game of chess. I even happened upon my totem animal,
a hawk, who was feeding down a side street from where we were walking.
As it turns out, Keene was having its bridal show this afternoon, so of
course, we had to check it out! It was cool because we got some ideas for our
wedding & we met some local people who are in my line of work.
The Carriage Barn was cute & comfortable. The owner was more than
willing to offer conversation as well as serve some delicious muffins.
Later that evening we met with some people from the Free State Project for
some food & my first real glimpse as to what I was getting myself into. My
impressions were very favorable & I began to feel a strong sense of
The next day we drove to Manchester, but not before taking a few pictures
of Keene during its "rush hour." It just doesn't get too awfully bad in a small
town, but it is a college town & on Monday @ 9 a.m., you're going to see
some cars moving around the square. We also stopped in Peterborough which I had
read was a very arts-minded community. Well, it seems more of an artsy-fartsy
community. It will probably be more of a nice place to come to to see a good
show & get some culture.
Before our next meeting with some more FSP friends at the hotel, we went
out to check out Manchester & Nashua. This is definitely the most populace
area of the state, but it doesn't take very long to be back into the forest.
So, it seems very possible that wherever I can find a job, it won't be
difficult to have a house in the country.
As soon as we got back to the hotel, our new friends were waiting for us.
We got to know each other for a little while before heading over to dinner at
Spatts restaurant. Wow & Yum! I'm so glad that we went off the diet for
this vacation! I had fried shrimp with a baked sweet potato & Seth had a
stuffed fish fillet that was nutty & delicious. Our new friends with the
FSP were warm & open and we had much more to talk about than just politics.
I asked about mud & black fly season & Don Gorman assured me that they
are short lived. As far as the snow & cold go, I'll probably need to just
bundle up & have fun, you know, make snowmen & maybe get involved in
some winter sports.
This was one of the best times I had on our trip. I really enjoyed the
company, conversation & food. We stayed long after our meals were done
& I truly felt like I was taking part in something important.
Then next day Don wanted to take us to Portsmouth for lunch &
adventure. Before leaving Manchester though, I went ahead & followed a
lead that Don's partner Marianne had given me for the Holiday Inn. They are the
main conference center in the Shire & even though they didn't have anything
available in management at this time, it was interesting to see what they had
available as far as meeting rooms & personality. It's going to be hard
leaving the Hilton Eugene. This is where all my friends are & I feel that
I've really grown up here...
Don wanted us to see the "seedy" part of town before our drive to the
coast. It wasn't very bad & if that's the worst it gets, I think we'll be
able to find a nice little place to start a family. From here I saw snow on the
beach for the first time & it was very cold without my hat & gloves on!
It's winter! Portsmouth is another artsy community that is made for tourists.
Don't get me wrong, I liked it well enough, but the housing is very expensive
& unless I find a really good job here, it will be expensive to live here.
So on we went to Dover & the best lobster ever at Newicks Restaurant.
It was juicy & tender & even came with a bib. Seth got a huge plate of
fried seafood & the scallops were phenomenal. Oh, we can't forget the huge
plate of steamer clams that still had the tails on them. Yum!
Having had my little adventure, I had a little nap in the backseat on the
way home. This gave Seth & Don some more time to talk politics & when I
woke up, all I could see were beautifully frosted trees. It's definitely a
winter wonderland here.
From Manchester we drove to Lebanon with a drive thru Concord. Here we had
an interesting experience on our way to dinner. We encountered a road stop
& when we had our turn the officer peeked in & asked if we were
American citizens. "That was weird." We both said. The funny thing was that we
had actually taken a wrong turn & were in Vermont & had to turn around
to get back to the Shire. From then on we had a nice night in with pizza and
The next day we had to head back to NY, but we had plenty of time, so we
stopped in a few other NH towns along the way. Since we were so close, we made
a quick stop in Hanover & took some pictures of Dartmouth college.
This day was the coldest we had experienced in our visit. It got UP to 13
degrees f. Although the air was brisk, the countryside we drove thru was
spectacular. The trees are all dotted with snow & frost & I had to take
many, many pictures.
You can see these pictures and more
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